@work                               t o@ l w o r k                                       o s     w T Or kS @ W Oo K s woo ...
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Rhapsody in Change

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By Dennis T. Jaffe, Ph.D. & Cynthia D. Scott, Ph.D.

Peter Drucker and Max Depree used music metaphors to refer to the complex interdependence and subtle shadings of the interaction between leadership and action. Leadership meets its deepest challenge when it must face up to the need for a deep, major, and rapid shift in the whole fabric of the organization that doesn’t seem to welcome it. The two of us were called in by one of the largest consulting firms to help them manage the dynamics of their major change projects—change projects, they admitted (as have many others), that were failing at a rate of about three out of four.

After studying their most successful and their most problematic companies, we came up with a “score” for change, as shown in the graphic on the next page.

First of all, a major change has three movements: mobilizing, designing, and transforming. Not exactly hot news, but the fact remains that the activities of the first and last movement—creating a climate for change to happen and taking on the tasks of embedding it in the capability and structure of the organization—are often pushed aside, as the focus is on the “deliverables” of complex and untested “plans.” If you take the time at the start to introduce the themes, bring all the elements into harmony, and preview some of the dramas to come, you will have created the framework for the intense and dramatic creativity of the second design movement.

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Transcript of "Rhapsody in Change"

  1. 1. @work t o@ l w o r k o s w T Or kS @ W Oo K s woo rsk o O L t o R l t ol tooso l s o r ok l s @ w t oworkto l work rhapsody in change Dennis T. Jaffe, Ph.D. & Cynthia D. Scott, Ph.D. PETER DRUCKER AND MAX DEPREE USED MUSIC The change team cannot become isolated in an metaphors to refer to the complex interdependence ivory tower. They must be in continual exchange and and subtle shadings of the interaction between communication with the multiple layers of employee leadership and action. Leadership meets its deepest involvement, continually reminding them, informing challenge when it must face up to the need for a deep, them, and engaging them in the processes of change. major, and rapid shift in the whole fabric of the Many large group events keep the flow of the process organization that doesn’t seem to welcome it. The two alive and real throughout the organization, even as the of us were called in by one of the largest consulting design is evolving. firms to help them manage the dynamics of their 3) And finally, organizational structures—reward and major change projects—change projects, they admitted performance-management systems, recruiting and (as have many others), that were failing at a rate of training, and links between groups—have to be brought in about three out of four. line with the new imperatives. After studying their most successful and their most The final score of a change rhapsody is complex and problematic companies, we came up with a “score” for multi-featured. It must be extensively choreographed, change, as shown in the graphic on the next page. hence the score, which entails many complex activities First of all, a major change has three movements: over time. But by putting them in a graphic score, mobilizing, designing, and transforming. Not exactly hot rather than a flow chart, we also highlight the news, but the fact remains that the activities of the community involvement, the interchange, and the first and last movement—creating a climate for change public nature of real change. Change is an exchange to happen and taking on the tasks of embedding it in that evolves as it is designed; it is not controlled by a the capability and structure of the organization—are few or from the top. often pushed aside, as the focus is on the “deliverables” The graphic markers in the score indicate of complex and untested “plans.” If you take the time various community events, times where small or large at the start to introduce the themes, bring all the groups come together and produce a piece of work—a elements into harmony, and preview some of the solo if you like. These markers may include dramas to come, you will have created the framework communication roll-out plans and redesigns of for the intense and dramatic creativity of the second systems, but the plans are by-products rather than the design movement. actual outcome. If there is a plan or a new design, but Just as there are many different classes of people aren’t clear, ready, and prepared for it, then the instruments to bring together, the score integrates change will remain a wish rather than a reality. independent activities of four dimensions of the Getting your organization to change presents a organization: detailed account of each of these marker activities, all 1) At each stage of change, the leadership has to be engaged: of which make up the larger score of a successful defining parameters, providing resources, and keeping change. Each instrument and activity must be done the goal and the inspiration alive. In our initial well, in the right time, and taking the right measure for research, we found that leaders often felt too busy and the eventual outcome to lead to the sustained applause wanted to delegate change. Some even wanted to from the audience: the customers. outsource it to consultants. Dennis T. Jaffe, Ph.D. is professor and director of the graduate programs 2) At the next level is the change team: the key group of in organizational systems inquiry at Saybrook Graduate School in San people who navigate, bring pieces together, focus Francisco. He is also editor of the newsletter The Inner Edge, and energy, cast a net, and convene many design and editor-in-chief of Perspectives, The Journal of the World Business learning teams. The team often contains external and Academy. Jaffe may be reached at djaffe@cworksinc.com. internal change navigators who look after the Cynthia D. Scott, Ph.D. is founder of Changeworks, a San Francisco environment in which the change takes place, as well as consulting firm and co-author of a score of books, including Managing operational leaders, outside design experts, and up- Change at Work (Crisp Publications, 1995). Scott may be reached at and-coming talents from many sites and functions. cscott@cworksinc.com. 50 Association for Quality & Participation www.aqp.org

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